In most parts of the world, Rainbow Trout eat aquatic insects that are brought to them by the current. They can sit effortlessly in a river, expending little energy as they get their calories by eating bugs like mayflies or midges. This is not the case in Alaska. Trout here do not act like Trout. They have a short growing season and take on a more predator type attitude to consume protein when available. Aquatic insects are still around, but they prefer meals that contain more calories like salmon eggs, decaying flesh, or even rodents.
Targeting Leopard Rainbows with a mouse fly has become one of the most popular ways to fish at our lodges of Alaska West and Rapids Camp. There are very few things cooler than watching a voracious Rainbow Trout attack a fly that is imitating a small mammal. Seeing the mouth of a fish that has the reputation of being finicky open up and devour a rodent will leave you shaking in your wading boots. The best part is, this is a very effective way to target the trout here.
Along with the growing popularity of fishing mice has come an increase in the amount of mouse flies available. We recently sat down with Russell Miller, the Marketing Manager of Umpqua Feather Merchants, to go over some of their top producing Mouse Patterns. He gave us his all-star line up below! If you are traveling to Alaska or Kamchatka, we’d recommend having plenty of the the following in your arsenal.
If you want to fish a mouse that works really well, this is the one. A legendary mouse on the rivers of Kamchatka and proven on trout rivers across America the Moorish Mouse is a must. Fishing Notes: Fish this with a high rod tip and steady subtle pulse/chug. This is also a great night fishing pattern in both still waters and rivers.
Jeff Hickman knows rainbow trout. He spent a bunch of years guiding at Alaska West, and during that time he came up with a really popular mouse pattern called Mr. Hankey thats now available from Umpqua.
“Mr. Hankey rides in the water at about the same level as a live swimming mouse, after all, mice swim, they don’t walk on the water. The foam back keeps him on top and upright in the surface. His foam back has an added bonus of keeping a tally of trout eats, since the tooth marks are strong evidence of a productive fly. His rabbit fur body should be illegal in most states as it is as close to bait as you could get. His rubber legs wiggle in the water like an Olympic swimmer. His foam mouse ears and crystal flash whiskers are strategically placed to effectively catch anglers as well as fish.”
Originally designed as a big, flared, densely “haired” mouse/lemming for Alaska, the Mighty Mouse became THE fly for the big rainbows of Kamchatka. While this mouse can be pulled from the bank and drifted with intermittent strips, it really is a steelhead-type skating/waking mouse. It is deadly when fished on a tight line, down and across. With the densely spun and flared elk hair (the Mighty Mouse uses three times the quantity of hair as does a Mouserat), this mouse pushes water and creates a big V-wake. The bulbous head keeps the “fly” in the film and prevents it from submarining subsurface. Very big rainbows, in both Alaska and Russia, inhale this hairy meal, thus a tight line not only ensures a V-wake, but also quick hook sets to prevent the fish from completely swallowing into the throat or gills.
The Loco Mouse features a foam top with a slimmer profile deer hair body. This allows the Loco Mouse to sit more naturally on the surface than mouse patterns with deeper bodies. Whiskers and suede tail help bring this little mouse to life.
This was a delightful mistake. We saw the potential right away getting a mini version of a mouse. This is how the “Mini” was born. The perfect size for creeking a mouse for willing trout or larger panfish.
More on Mousing: